8/24 7:30 @
4A State Finals vs.Newton
Highlanders' 2nd Quarter, Blitzed Eagles
Champaign (Memorial Stadium) - The Eagles looked undaunted in the face of 4 time state champs Driscoll Catholic as the 1st quarter came to an end Friday in the class 4A state football finals game as they were down by just 7 points.
But all that would change as that 7 was part of the Highlanders' 35 straight points they scored in the last 12 & a half minutes of the 1st half
Newton started out playing the Highlanders tough on defense. Forcing a punt on Driscoll's first possession after just one first down. Then cornering Driscoll in their own endzone with a punt that was downed on the 1. Alex Koebele would intercept a Phil Pedi pass 4 plays later at the Driscoll 30 yard line.
A 3 yard tackle for a loss on Koebele, plus a holding penalty backed up Newton to the 45 where they turned the ball over on downs.
Driscoll would recoup and put together a 9 play 74 yard drive that would be capped off by a John Tranchitella run for 2 yards, with 31 seconds left in the 1st quarter.
It would be all Driscoll from that point forward, as the Highlanders would get the only running clock of the state finals in 2005.
Driscoll forced Newton to go 3 & out on their next possession. A blocked punt by Kyle Jenkins would give the Highlanders the ball on the Newton 11 yard line, where Justin Nudo would sprint into the endzone 2 plays later for a 7 yard TD. Making the score 14-0.
Mike Redpath would get the first of 3 interception on Semple for the Highlanders. Newton would force Driscoll to punt on the following possession, but a muffed punt would return the ball to the Highlanders who scored 2 plays later on a 20 yard Pedi pass to Tranchitella.
Redpath would get the fourth TD for the highlanders on a run on Driscoll's next possession and Tranchitella would grab another Pedi pass for a 36 yard TD reception with 58 seconds left in the half to put the Highlanders up 35-0 at the half.
A 36 yard run by Tranchitella would set up a Louis Miceli TD with 4:22 left in the 3rd quarter to start the running clock and send Driscoll on their way to a record setting 5th straight title.
Newton was able to get on the board after a short Driscoll punt gave them good starting field position at the Driscoll 43.
Semple, would run in for a 1 yard TD with 3:11 left in the game to help the Eagles avoid the shut out.
by Vincent Johnson
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